At the beginning of the year, while visiting San Francisco, my boyfriend and I road-tripped into wine country to visit the charming town of Calistoga, CA for a weekend getaway.
WHERE WE STAYED:
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa is a bright, boutique hotel with mid-century modern decor and a playful spirit. This 1940’s roadside motel has gotten a major facelift, but I love that it still reflects its roots. This place really did feel like a road-trip hotspot - and one that was outfitted with gorgeous views and an incredible spa to boot. Before checking out at the end of the weekend, we spent the morning at the hotel’s Moonacre Spa, getting “Perfectly Muddled” - aka painting ourselves head-to-toe with Calistoga’s famous mud, which turned out to be a fun and super-relaxing end to our trip.
WHAT TO DO:
Wine tastings. Since Calistoga is at the top of Napa Valley, the wine in this area is wonderful (and Ubers to and from the vineyards are very inexpensive!). We ended up visiting three vineyards during our stay.
Our first stop, Chateau Montelena, has a little bit of everything I was looking for in a vineyard experience: great wine, a gorgeous property, and an interesting backstory. In the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 (also called wine’s “Judgement of Paris”), Parisian judges carried out blind taste tests of wines from France and California. Though the judges were certain that French wines would win over their American counterparts, they ended up ranking a chardonnay from Chateau Montelena as a winner! After our tasting, we strolled around the property’s gorgeous Chinese Gardens and took in the view of the Chateau’s facade (see photo below!). I would recommend coming here in the summer months, when all those vines up the Chateau walls come to life!
More wine tastings. We also checked out Vincent Arroyo Winery and Castello di Amorosa while we were in town. Vincent Arroyo was a super-friendly vineyard: an adorable black lab named Rosie came to greet us as our car pulled in, and the staff were so kind (and very generous with the wine). We arrived at an off-time, so our lovely guide ended up walking us around the vineyard and really going above and beyond for our tasting. The wine was great - and I especially liked their port.
Castello di Amorosa is a well-oiled machine when it comes to wine tastings and tours. To get the full experience, we took a guided tour of the entire castle (which is gorgeous!) and then ended with a wine tasting in their cellars. Our guide was funny and very knowledgable and the wine was fantastic (the vineyard even has an impressive list of celebrity club members to show for it).